The future of marketing? Perceptions of virtual influencers in Southeast Asia

While not quite as popular as human influencers yet, more companies are playing with the idea of marketing through virtual influencers. These computer-generated public figures almost have a life of their own – reflected on their social media accounts – and even work with brands to promote the latest products.

Milieu Insight released the results of their ‘Perceptions of Virtual Influencers’ study with N=6000 respondents in Singapore (N=1000 each from Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia)

Virtual influencers are new to consumers – and it’s probably a good thing

  • Top voted opinions about virtual influencers is ‘Interesting’ (50%) and ‘Cool’ (40%); opinions are generally positive; working with virtual influencers could potentially get some attention for the curious
  • Singapore, however particularly finds virtual influencers ‘weird’ (38%)


Virtual influencers are likely to continue to grow, but trust needs to be built

  • 77% of Southeast Asians are very or somewhat interested to follow virtual influencers on social media, especially Indonesians, Filipinos and Vietnamese

  • However, trust needs to be built with virtual influencers – after all the products they endorse are not truly tried and tested; only 12% think that they are more credible than human influencers, while 31% think that they are less credible than the latter

Bridging the gap – getting consumers to relate to virtual influencers

  • We surveyed respondents about the various characteristics of virtual influencers that they prefer, in terms of nationality, language and gender appearance
  • Thais generally don’t have a preference, while Filipinos, Vietnamese and Indonesians tend to prefer if virtual influencers look and speak local
  • Notably, 39% of Filipinos, more than the other countries, prefer virtual influencers who look androgynous, showing more acceptance towards non-binary
  • Individual infographics for each market here

Methodology:

Based on Milieu surveys with N=1000 respondents each from Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, conducted in December 2021.


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